Real estate broker Bobby Westbrook is adding another company to his portfolio.

And business is soaring — literally.

“I was looking to buy an airplane and ended up acquiring the franchise for Texas,” Westbrook said, explaining how HiView Aviation came about.

Needing a plane to scout land for his real estate company, HiView Real Estate, Westbrook began a nationwide search to find a comfortable, safe light aircraft that would meet his needs.

“I looked at a lot of light sport aircraft models, but I wasn’t happy with any of them. Either they were too cramped or I didn’t feel safe — and safety is a top concern for me,” he said.

During his search, Westbrook came in connect with the Oklahoma Flight Design dealer, who offered to fly the new CT model down to Rockwall.

The Flight Design CT is a two-passenger LSA that is engineered and designed by a German aviation firm and manufactured in Ukraine.

Receiving certification by the FAA for use in the United States in 2005, the CT is just now starting to become available for pilots in the United States, with the company’s U.S. distributorship based in Ellington, Conn. There are about 900 Flight Design CT units in operation around the world.

“We hadn’t even been in the air 15 minutes when I told the guy that I had already made up my mind. I was sold,” Westbrook said. “Not only is it fun to fly, I was amazed at how much room there is in the cockpit — it’s 49 inches wide — and there’s still lots of room to stow luggage and gear. And it’s also an extremely safe aircraft.

“The more I learned about the plane the more excited I became,” he added. “I asked if the company had a Texas franchise yet and started the paperwork right then and there. I am now the sole dealership for the Flight Design CT in Texas.”

In just the past few weeks since launching the dealership (which is based out of Mid-Way Airport in Waxahachie), Westbrook said he’s averaging about three demonstrations a week.

“Everyone who’s gone up loves it,” he said.

The response has been so good, in fact, Westbrook is already working on plans for satellite offices in the western and southern parts of the states.

“This is just a phenomenal plane,” he said. “It’s very affordable to both own and operate.”

The Flight Design CT is powered by a 100 horsepower engine and has a rated maximum range of 1,000 nautical miles with a cruising speed of 120 knots and can carry up to 620 pounds combined weight of pilot/passenger/cargo.

With a wingspan of 27.9 feet, the CT is capable of taking off in less than 300 feet of runway and has a ceiling of 14,000 feet.

“Another thing that really impressed me is the CT uses about 3-1/2 to 5 gallons of fuel an hour,” Westbrook said, noting that a comparable Cessna carrying the same weight uses a lot more fuel. “You can use premium unleaded auto fuel or 100 Avgas, either one.

“It’s very affordable to operate. You can fly all day long without it costing an arm and a leg,” he said.

Demonstrating the features of the new plane at Mid-Way Airport, Westbrook pointed out the gull wing doors with gas struts, noting how easy it is to climb in and out of the aircraft.

“I’m over 6-feet tall and it’s easy for me to feel cramped in a small airplane,” he said. “You can get two stocky people in here and still have lots of shoulder and head room. And if you look at the windshield and design of the doors, the visibility is excellent. It’s actually the type of visibility you expect in a helicopter.”

The doors can also be removed, which Westbrook said provides an ideal platform for aerial photography.

“Unlike a lot of other small planes, there are no wing struts that impede visibility,” he said, adding the fixed landing gear can be equipped for land, water or amphibious landings.

“Here, feel this,” Westbrook said, tapping on the hull of the carbon fiber-epoxy construction that he said is not only lightweight, but extremely durable. “This is solid stuff. There is nothing flimsy about this airplane. The materials and craftsmanship are top drawer.”

Comparing it to the safety cage construction used by automobile manufactures to better protect passengers, Westbrook said Flight Design engineers developed a carbon-aramid composite safety cell into the CT to enhance passenger protection.

“It even has a ballistic parachute,” he said, explaining that in the event of an in-air emergency, the pilot can deploy the canopy parachute that will lower the plane and passengers to the ground.

“But we’re not going to demonstrate that today,” he joked.

Other CT safety features include adjustable sport seats with headrests, four-point safety harnesses, LED strobes, position and lights, full flight instrumentation with state-of-the-art avionics, glass panel or regular gauges, GPS with weather radar, coupled auto pilot, conventional three-axis dual control, electric flaps with LED pre-selector system with ranges from negative 6 degrees to positive 40 degrees, tricycle landing gear with hydraulic disc brakes and steerable nose wheel.

It also has a very low stall speed (the airspeed at which the wings lose lift) of around 40 knots, Westbrook said, adding that it has been certified to international airworthiness standards in the United States, Great Britain and Germany.

Westbrook said the CT is well suited for flight schools, with students able to obtain a sport pilot’s license in 25 hours. No flight physical is required, only a driver’s license.

The Flight Design CT has a price range of $108,000 to $129,000, depending on optional equipment and avionics.

For more information on the Flight Design CT or to schedule a demonstration, contact Bobby Westbrook through his Web site at www.HiViewAviation.com, or call (972) 989-4900.

E-mail Neal at neal.white@waxahachiedailylight.com